Weight Loss Isn’t the Answer for your PCOS

Kimberly Singh, Julie’s resident nutrition grad student ⇢also affected by PCOS!⇠ is back to blogging on PCOS topics. Enjoy!

It’s that time of the year again.

Everyone is revving their engines to prepare for a new lifestyle filled with vegetables and water.

They are starting their elimination diets and shaming their prior self for indulging in things like sugar and bread (gasp).

As they start this new lifestyle with blind optimism, they are sure this time will be different.

Not like last January, or the one before that, and so on. In a few weeks to months the craze will wear off, and most dieters will be back to eating sugar and whatever else they currently deem unhealthy trash.

Sound familier?

If you have PCOS this is probably a familiar cycle.

You already know the shame and pressure to change your body’s size through restrictive dieting and rigid exercise. 

Want to find a way to treat your PCOS without dieting?

Julie can show you how! Get on the wait list here.

As if society’s pressure to shrink yourself wasn’t bad enough, you probably have doctors promising you that all of your PCOS nightmares will end when you drop the weight.

Who wouldn’t want that?

They paint this beautiful picture of your PCOS symptoms vanishing with the proper amount of restriction. If you just do it right and long enough you will be practically cured.

However, they fail to warn you about the increased risk of eating disorders and weight cycling among dieting women with PCOS. They rarely ask about a history of binge eating disorder, which is common in women with PCOS. And last but not least, they fail to warn you that dieting causes you to ignore your body’s internal method of regulation.

Diets inherently tell you to ignore your body and listen to the blanket of shame that society throws on people of size. 

Healthcare professionals prescribe weight loss for PCOS as an ultimate solution, ignoring the weight cycling that usually accompanies the PCOS experience. The reckless prescription of restrictive diets to a population at an increased risk of eating disorders causes harm to women with PCOS.

Not only does dieting lead to weight gain (the literal opposite of what PCOS dieters expect) but it also poorly affects their health.

Diets discourage people from knowing how to use food as fuel for their bodies. Julie finds that by urging her clients to observe reactions to different foods, they are able to identify how to best energize their bodies and manage their PCOS.

Women with PCOS get energy from food in a different way from others, and by turning down the volume on dieting, they are able to better hear what their bodies prefer. I have found it to be helpful to log how I feel 1-3 hours after eating different foods. 

Dieting can seem so appealing, especially for those of us with PCOS. It promises a whole new shiny life-a better version of yourself that is lingering inside of you and waiting to be released.

It can even sound like the only solution to your PCOS, but it is not.

You are the only solution. 

You have the internal wisdom to guide yourself to health and happiness, and don’t let diet culture tell you otherwise.

As the new year begins, I urge you to ditch your diet. I urge you to stop restricting. Stop listening to messages about weight loss filled with shame, and start listening to your body.

Here are some of my favorite resources when diet culture has me in the dumps:

  • Weight-neutral podcasts: some of my favorites are Love Food, Dietitians Unplugged, Food Psych, She’s all Fat.
  • Lindy West’s writing has a great balance of humor and realness of the fat experience.
  • Intuitive Eating (<–this is an affiliate link) is a must-have. It will help you unlearn diets.
  • And last but not least: myself! When I am present and grounded with myself, I know that diets are not right. Self-compassion and mindfulness help me get through my toughest moments.

Want to find a way to treat your PCOS without dieting?

Julie can show you how! Get on the wait list here.

Jeanes, Y. M., Reeves, S., Gibson, E. L., Piggott, C., May, V. A., & Hart, K. H. (2017). Binge eating behaviours and food cravings in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Appetite, 109(Supplement C), 24–32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2016.11.010

Lee, I., Cooney, L. G., Saini, S., Smith, M. E., Sammel, M. D., Allison, K. C., & Dokras, A. (2017). Increased risk of disordered eating in polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertility and Sterility, 107(3), 796–802. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.12.014

Mann, T., Tomiyama, A. J., Westling, E., Lew, A.-M., Samuels, B., & Chatman, J. (2007). Medicare’s search for effective obesity treatments: Diets are not the answer. American Psychologist, 62(3), 220–233. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.62.3.220

Morosi, A., & Jeanes, Y. (2017). Food cravings, binge eating and emotional eating behaviours in overweight and obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 76(OCE1). https://doi.org/10.1017/S0029665117000155

When relying on hunger is too scary

When relying on-3

 

Does the idea of relying on your hunger and fullness cues freak you out? Seem waaaay too scary? Please hang on. This post is for you. And, be sure to know you are not alone.

I can’t stop thinking about food!

Attuned eating is letting go of distractions and relying on your hunger, fullness, and satiety cues to guide eating instead of rigid diets. Some people also call it Intuitive Eating (check out the brand new workbook edition here it is fabulous). If your brain thinks about food, eating, and their rules most of the day, attuned eating will feel a bit premature. We often call this way of thinking food preoccupation. I see it as food rules have taken your brain hostage. The way out of this crisis is to retrain your brain to not think about food. All. The. Time.

Before you look into brain surgeons, know we have tools outside of the operating room. And, all you need to do the work includes a way to know time (either your watch, cell phone, or the sun), a shelf stable snack of your choice, and patience. Bring lots of patience.

Disconnecting from hunger makes us think more about food

We get disconnected from our hunger cues because our brains have been distracted by food rules, not prioritizing self-care, and emotional dysregulation. If you are disconnected from hunger, there was a time when you were not. There was a time when your body consistently provided the information you needed to eat adequately. Diets and other means to learn food rules disconnected you. So does a chaotic life with little self-care. If you are running around like a chicken with a head cut off, then you are not stopping to eat when hungry nor pee when need to pee. (That’s for all my nurses and teachers…talking to you!)

You also get disconnected if you are used to feeling certain emotions and reaching for food. Emotional eating is a touchy word in my book because everyone emotionally eats. It is human and part of cultural connections. And healthy. What I am talking about though is when a person feels an emotion, whether uncomfortable or warm fuzzy, and the brain automatically feels connection with certain foods. I like to call this symbolic hunger discussed in another post.

How do we rewire our noggins?

Diets, lack of self-care, and emotional dysregulation can all disconnect your hunger and make your brain over think about food. To retrain your brain, practice these steps over the next 2 to 4 weeks:

Pick your check in times.

What time do you wake up? Now set an alarm on your phone for every two to three hours after this time throughout the whole day. If you don’t use a smart phone, pencil it in your calendar. These times are your check in times.

Go through the check in routine.

Within the first hour of being awake and every check in time, go through this routine: take 3 deep breaths and ask yourself: “What do I need right now?” By what do I need I am referring to anything. If nothing surfaces ask these:

Do I need to pee?

What am I feeling?

Am I hot or cold?

Do I want or need to eat?

What to do about food at check in times?

At each check in time, give yourself permission to eat outside of physical hunger. If you are not feeling hunger cues, you need to eat at some point (hello, you are human!). By doing this, you will reset your circadian eating rhythms which will gradually reset your hunger cues to be consistently noticeable.

What to do about food outside of check in times?

When craving to eat or binge outside of check in times practice gently saying: “I am craving food right now. It is symbolic hunger. I can have as much as I want or need at the next check in time.” If you find yourself not able to wait, please forgive yourself and move on. Those who are successful at this part of the process are folks who keep trying. So dust yourself off and look to the next check in time. It will get easier after more practice.

What to expect

Practice these check in times over the next 2 to 4 weeks. Remember to be extra kind to yourself and forgive when making mistakes. Everyone does during this process. After a few weeks, your brain will start to get used to a rhythm from the check in times and eating times. More space will occur outside of eating and hunger cues will begin to percolate to the surface. And when they do, welcome them home. Let hunger know you won’t be ignoring it anymore rather wanting to get to know its purpose.

Let me know when you start to experience the hunger cues coming back. It is an exciting reuniting process!

 

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Want a guide to partner with you on your Food Peace journey? I want to help. Check out my podcast and I hope it illuminates the direction you want to go.

The Love Food Podcast Episode 59

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Did healing your relationship with food result in weight gain? Are you angry that healing your relationship with food has made you gain this weight? Do you feel judged based on the weight gain? Listen now for some ways to deal with this part of the food and body peace journey.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

Specialized Track for College-Aged Women at Green Mountain at Fox Run

Dieting trends. Endless images of ‘perfect bodies’. Find a permanent solution to struggles with food, weight and body at Green Mountain at Fox Run. Green Mountain is hosting weekly programs between May 14 and August 26 tailored to the needs of women between ages 18 and 25. Your whole life is ahead of you, and you deserve to live it happily and in good health. Visit https://goo.gl/2r8B2W for more information.

Episode’s Key Points:

  • It’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week! It’s time we tackle our cultural eating disorder recovery and speak out about the seriousness of eating disorders.
  • Dieting is a part of the eating disorder experience… if diets weren’t normalized, we would have fewer eating disorders!
  • On March 1st start looking for #ChangeTheGame!! Let’s change the conversation around dieting. Dieting is NOT healthy eating.
  • YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!
  • Eating disorders kill more people than any other mental illness. One person dies every 23 hours from an eating disorder.
  • The Canary in the Coal Mine metaphor:
    • Coal miners used to bring canaries down into the coal mines with them. If the canaries were singing, the coal miners knew they were safe. Once the singing stopped though, that was the coal miners’ cue to get out quickly before the toxic gas killed them too.
    • We live in a toxic environment focused on the thin ideal… some people are impacted much more quickly or intensely than others, and they develop eating disorders (the canaries). They are our warning to fix our toxic environment before it gets us too (the coal miners).
  • Many people who go through classic eating disorder treatment receive a meal plan from their dietitians to guide their eating in recovery. This system may be flawed though, and potentially damaging, and we are actually discovering that we may be able to use intuitive eating much earlier in eating disorder recovery than we initially thought!
  • What exactly is a “set healthy weight?” We really have no clue what any single person is supposed to weigh. At certain points in eating disorder recovery this “set-point” can be an important number, and is determined by past weight experiences… but it’s very difficult to actually pin this number down.
  • Our “healthy weight” CHANGES based on our age and other life factors!
  • Some research indicates that being in larger body as we get older can be protective.
  • It’s time we change our thought process on what weight indicates!
  • Trying to manipulate someone’s weight is going to negatively impact their behaviors.
  • What if the enemy is not food at all, and the enemies are really body hate, the need for control, the value attached to body perception, and the value we hold for the judgment others place on our bodies?
  • We do an activity from When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies, a book that approaches recovery from a feminist perspective. How would we lead our lives if we lived in a world where all bodies were valued, no matter their size? What if we were all considered important and precious the way we are now?
  • We DON’T know what anyone’s weight is actually supposed to be, and we probably never will. We just need to accept where our body is at, no matter what. We don’t have to fight against our bodies.
  • We need you in this world, as you are now.
  • Food is NOT the enemy!

Show Notes:

  • Link to subscribe to the weekly FREE Food Peace Newsletter. It is sent out every Tuesday morning and no spam EVER. By signing up, I will also send you Love Food’s Season 1’s Food Peace Syllabus.
  • Overcoming Overeating: How to Break the Diet/Binge Cycle and Live a Healthier, More Satisfying Life by Jane R. Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter  —> This week’s Food Peace Syllabus addition #1
  • When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies: Freeing Yourself from Food and Weight Obsession by Jane R. Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter —> This week’s Food Peace Syllabus addition #2
  • Love, Food Episode 22 with Dr. Maria Paredes
  • Eating Disorder Dietitians
  • Julie Dillon RD blog

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series. Give me feedback via Twitter @EatingPermitRD.

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This episode is sponsored by my friends at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

Weekend Program for Women who Struggle with Eating and Weight Concerns

Green Mountain at Fox Run is excited to announce a one-time opportunity to newcomers – an all-new A Taste of Green Mountain weekend program (March 3 – 5)! Key strategies for mindful eating, mindful movement, self-care, and stress management will be introduced to help participants to eat, move, feel, and LIVE in the moment…to #BeHerNow! This opportunity is only open to new guests of Green Mountain. https://goo.gl/tCVQWl

Binge & Emotional Eating Weekend Intensive

The Women’s Center for Binge & Emotional Eating is offering its foundational one-week Pathway™ program in an intensive weekend format. Participants will explore personal barriers and how to counter them with evidence-based strategies to prevent eating in response to stress and emotions. Dates are scheduled monthly throughout 2017 although capacity is limited, so visit https://goo.gl/xFh2up  for more information.

There’s only ONE premier retreat for women who struggle with overeating and weight.

It’s time to shine the light on yourself and make YOURSELF the priority. Here at Green Mountain at Fox Run, we’re all about embracing and supporting yourself through self-care. Through powerful tools such as mindfulness techniques, stress management skills, and movement that is customized to your body and fitness level, you’ll learn to practice self-care in your daily life. Visit https://goo.gl/si9wZi for more information.

Green Mountain at Fox Run’s Binge Eating White Paper – Myths, Truths and Treatments

Download Green Mountain’s free whitepaper to understand Binge Eating Disorder, the most common eating disorder. Explore the symptoms of and treatment for BED, assess where weight loss fits in, and gain clarity on common myths. Visit https://goo.gl/UGpF78 for more information.

 

The Love Food Podcast Episode 58 with Andrew Walen

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Are you struggling with your relationship with food and your body, but are finding it difficult to find the right resources to help you heal? Do you identify as a man and feel lost or like an outsider in the food and body peace world? Have you made peace with food, but are still struggling to make peace with your body? Listen now for some advice on how to begin tackling these issues.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

Key Points:

  • You are not alone, but we can appreciate that you still FEEL alone!
  • SHAME is a big part of eating disorders, and there is an extra layer of shame for men.
  • Andrew Walen joins for more insight into the male experience with eating disorders, body image struggles, and food peace concerns.
  • Resources for men who struggle with body image is severely lacking!
  • The male ideal: 50% of men wish they were bigger and 50% of men wish they were smaller… there is also a lot of focus on musculature, especially in the chest region (very different than the female ideal!). The physical ideal is also influenced by our ideas of “manliness.” Men must be tough, strong, and nothing like women (stereotypically feminine traits such as soft or weak).
  • Eating disorders within the male population are stigmatized because they imply that the person suffering from the eating disorder is weak… which is feminine and therefore “bad.”
  • Right now, the biggest thing is NORMALIZING the male eating disorder.
  • According to some research, about 85% of people who struggle with body image issues and eating disorders are heterosexual males.
  • We live in a society that drives us to self-hate because we are told we don’t measure up, and people of all ages and of all genders are constantly comparing themselves to those around them.
  • We all struggle with wanting to be appreciated and accepted by those around us!
  • It’s important that men dealing with body image issues have the inner courage to speak out and begin to share their stories of struggle and success so that the experience is normalized and more research money can come in to help people suffering!!
  • Residential treatment facilities for men suffering from eating disorders is sorely lacking… only one current center in the country offers in-patient residential treatment for males!
  • How do eating disorders look different in men? How do men talk about their bodies?
    • Focus on muscularity, strength, and dominance
    • Co-morbidity of substance abuse, specifically alcohol
    • Language around the body is less specific and less emotionally intense than a woman’s language around the body
  • Coping skills are super important! This can include learning how to sit with discomfort and learning how to communicate emotions.
  • Men are less likely to seek out treatment, more likely to wait longer before undergoing treatment, and more likely to rush through treatment and, as a result, relapse. This inevitably makes the fatality rates for males with eating disorders, specifically anorexia, higher than that of women with eating disorders.
  • Resources can help normalize the experience of men with eating disorders and body image concerns!!

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series. Give me feedback via Twitter @EatingPermitRD.

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This episode is sponsored by my friends at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

A Taste of Green Mountain – Weekend Program Green Mountain at Fox Run is excited to announce a one-time opportunity to newcomers – an all-new A Taste of Green Mountain weekend program! Key strategies for mindful eating, mindful movement, self-care, and stress management will be introduced to help participants to eat, move, feel, and LIVE in the moment…to #BeHerNow! This opportunity is only open to new guests of Green Mountain. https://goo.gl/tCVQWl

Binge & Emotional Eating Weekend IntensiveThe Women’s Center for Binge & Emotional Eating is offering its foundational one-week Pathway™ program in an intensive weekend format. Participants will explore personal barriers and how to counter them with evidence-based strategies to prevent eating in response to stress and emotions. Dates are scheduled monthly throughout 2017 although capacity is limited, so visit https://goo.gl/xFh2up  for more information.

TAKE TIME TO INVEST IN YOU.It’s time to shine the light on yourself and make YOURSELF the priority. Here at Green Mountain at Fox Run, we’re all about embracing and supporting yourself through self-care. Through powerful tools such as mindfulness techniques, stress management skills, and movement that is customized to your body and fitness level, you’ll learn to practice self-care in your daily life. Visit https://goo.gl/si9wZi for more information.

Green Mountain at Fox Run’s Foundational Guide to Reaching & Maintaining Your Healthy Weight

Download Green Mountain’s free healthy weight foundational guide to learn how to embrace healthy (and pleasurable) eating strategies, cultivate a fitness practice you enjoy, and use mindfulness to overcome stress & emotional eating https://goo.gl/WwUDOr

The Love Food Podcast Episode 55

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Do you feel that you’ve made peace with food, but are still struggling to make peace with your body? Have you gained weight on your anti-diet, intuitive eating journey, and are now trying to work through your emotions related to this weight gain? Are you feeling a loss from letting go of dieting? Listen now for some ways to get started on body peace and diet mourning.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

Key Points:

  • National Dieting Month has reached its end! CHEERS!
  • Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review!! It really helps people who need to break free from dieting find the podcast and begin their journey to find food peace. Thank you to everyone who has left a review so far!
  • For those of you early on in your intuitive eating journey, this letter writer lets us know that part of intuitive eating is learning that eating past fullness is uncomfortable, and therefore it just isn’t something we usually do when we have a healthy relationship with food. Sometimes we eat past fullness to be sure, it happens! But that isn’t the norm, and it doesn’t fill us with guilt anymore when we do eat past fullness.
  • Recovery takes time… it’s a marathon, not a sprint! Connecting to your body can feel unsafe or uncomfortable in early recovery, so be patient when trying to tap into your intuition.
  • Healthy eating includes flexibility!!
  • The only way to learn how to rely on your own hunger, fullness, and satiety cues is trial and error.
  • Intuitive eating = mindful eating = attuned eating.
  • You are allowed to eat things JUST BECAUSE. Unconditional permission to eat is a super important part of intuitive eating, but it can be the scariest!
  • Sometimes through intuitive eating we find that foods we were obsessed with during our disordered days are foods that we actually don’t even like.
  • There is often a mourning process when we let go of dieting because dieting sells us the lie of a perfect, happy life. But don’t avoid that grief! Feel what you’re experiencing, and remember that this feeling won’t last forever.
  • Seek out leaders in the body acceptance community to help you work through this grief.
  • The next step is embracing the social justice aspect of diets, and fighting for marginalized groups in the body peace movement.

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series. Give me feedback via Twitter @EatingPermitRD.

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This episode is sponsored by my friends at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

Free 4-Week Email Course: #BeHerNow

It’s time to STOP putting your life on hold until you lose weight and START living the life you desire and deserve today! Register for our free 4-week #BeHerNow online course to learn how to transform your thoughts and behaviors so that the real you shines through…paving the way to a fuller, richer life. Explore how to shift your focus from weight to well-being, how to make lasting change from the inside out, and how to identify and realize what you really want and need. Registration for this series closes on Wednesday, February 1, so sign up today to receive the first email in the series on Thursday, February 2.

TAKE TIME TO INVEST IN YOU.

It’s time to shine the light on yourself and make YOURSELF the priority. Here at Green Mountain at Fox Run, we’re all about embracing and supporting yourself through self-care. Through powerful tools such as mindfulness techniques, stress management skills, and movement that is customized to your body and fitness level, you’ll learn to practice self-care in your daily life. Visit https://www.fitwoman.com/for more information.